Rocky Mountain College’s director of major gifts, Peter Bolenbaugh, has announced two new endowments for Rocky Mountain College. In honor of RMC’s previous director of planned giving, Obert Undem, Rocky Mountain College established the Obert M. and Virginia H. Undem Scholarship Endowment.
The endowment was set up by Rocky Mountain College to honor Obert’s dedication and nearly 20-year commitment to helping students receive an excellent education.
“Seeing a room full of people at Obert’s retirement reception and receiving numerous letters of appreciation is a testament to the hard work Obert has put into RMC and its students,” said Bolenbaugh. “It’s an honor to announce this endowment in Obert’s name, as a way to thank him for the many years he has helped people to honor their parents, family, and friends with endowed scholarships at Rocky Mountain College.”
Bolenbaugh also announced the Jim Schaff Memorial Scholarship Endowment, which was set up in honor of RMC graduate Jim Schaff. After serving four years in the Navy, Schaff attended Rocky Mountain College and graduated in 1977. During his time at RMC, Schaff not only excelled in his classes, but also received honors for his athletic talent on the Battlin’ Bears football team. Schaff was inducted into the RMC Hall of Fame in 2006.
Schaff’s career in the oil and gas industry included serving as the vice president of land for Petroleum Development Corp. He also worked for Nova Natural Resources, Bill Barrett Corp. and Williams Energy Co.
After Schaff died unexpectedly in June 2013, Schaff’s family, friends, and business associates helped to create an endowment in Shaff’s name. This endowment will help to provide scholarships for students attending Rocky Mountain College who aspire to work in the oil and gas industry.
“This endowment was created in honor of Jim Schaff’s commitment and dedication to his family, his education and his career,” said Bolenbaugh. “Jim was just one of many oil and gas executives who received their degree from Rocky. His family, friends, and business partners wanted to help keep Jim’s legacy alive on the RMC campus and provide the opportunity for success to other students interested in the oil and gas industry.”
Bolenbaugh, who joined Rocky Mountain College as director of major gifts in May 2014, said he hopes that these and the many other endowments at Rocky Mountain College will continue to grow, as approximately 99 percent of students at RMC receive some type of financial assistance.
“Many people may not be aware of the significant impact these scholarships can have in a student’s life,” said Bolenbaugh. “One of my goals is to help connect donors with the students they are supporting.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:35
BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension is offering two Montana Saves Scavenger Hunts as part of the America Saves program during 2014-2015. The events are specifically designed for two age groups: 11-14 and 15-19. Students will learn about the benefits of saving and investing, how credit can be a friend or foe, and how to be in control of money.
Students who complete the “Montana Saves Scavenger Hunt” will be eligible for a drawing for one of 33 cash awards of $100 in each age group during America Saves week, Feb. 23-27.
The 66 cash awards for Montana students are courtesy of First Interstate BancSystem Foundation, Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, Montana Consumer Protection Division, Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance, Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants Legacy Foundation, Montana Bankers Association Education Endowment Fund of the Montana Community Foundation and Montana 4-H Foundation.
The Montana Saves Scavenger Hunt can be used by parents who want to incorporate learning about finances into interactions with their children, or teachers who want to include financial education in their classrooms. Youth have until February 20, 2015, to finish the nine hunt activities and print a certificate. The Montana Saves website has a link to enrollment directions - www.montanasaves.org/ - or youth can go directly to the site by age group.
The website for ages 11–14: www.msuextension.org/montanasavesscavengerhunt1.
The website for ages 15–19: www.msuextension.org/montanasavesscavengerhunt2
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 January 2015 15:34
Rocky Mountain College athletic director Bruce Parker has announced the hiring of Mike McLean to head up the school’s cross country and track and field programs. McLean’s appointment was effective immediately.
McLean is Parker’s first head coaching hire since taking over the helm of the athletic department at Rocky this past summer.
“We are so very pleased and excited that Mike has accepted this position,” said Parker, who came to Rocky after spending 11 years at Carroll College in Helena. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience. I truly believe Mike can take our cross country and track & field programs to the next level.”
McLean, a 23-year coaching veteran, comes to Rocky from Montana’s Flathead Valley, where he held cross country and track & field coaching positions at Columbia Falls, Flathead and Glacier High Schools, as well as at Flathead Valley Community College.
McLean described his excitement level of being at Rocky as “off the charts.”
“I was drawn to the program because of the opportunity to coach at the college level again. I look forward to qualifying our men’s and women’s cross country teams for nationals as well as many athletes as possible become track and field All-Americans.”
McLean’s primary vision is to increase the number of student athletes participating in the programs as well as “bring in students to receive a quality education at Rocky Mountain College.”
McLean replaces Alan King, who recently departed Rocky to take a similar position at Culver-Stockton College in Carson, Mo.
The Battlin’ Bears will compete in their first meet of the indoor season at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., Saturday.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:10
The Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit and the Montana High School Rodeo Association have joined to organize the first ever High School Rough Stock Challenge at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals on Jan. 16-18.
The brainchild of the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Board, the Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge will be the first event of its kind at any PRCA rodeo in the nation and intends to engage youth and encourage them to participate in the sport of pro rodeo.
The program aims to expose youth to a larger audience and help them get a start in rodeo. Jim Croff, president of the Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit Board, said, “This is a Montana Pro Rodeo program to help increase youth involvement in the sport of rodeo and we are excited to be the first and only Professional Rodeo Circuit to come up with such a program involving youth and will be implementing it into the 36th annual MPRF.”
The top six high school contestants in the bareback and saddle bronc riding will compete throughout the three days of the rodeo. Three bareback riders and three saddle bronc riders will compete for each of the first two nights of the rodeo and the top three in each event will come back to compete on Sunday during the final round. The goal of the rough stock challenge event is to give youth that are interested in rough stock rodeo events an opportunity to ride with the pros.
Sparking the rodeo interest in youth is also on the minds of several of this year’s contestants. “I think it’s a good deal because it’s going to show a lot of kids what they can look forward to,” said Tucker Harmon, a senior from Broadus. Harmon will compete in the saddle bronc riding and continued, “To be a role model to those kids is a good deal.”
Shawn Perkins sits atop the bareback standings in the MHSRA. “It will bring a new level of competition for the fall season in high school rodeo for kids trying to get through to the circuit challenge. It’s also a great experience to go compete in front of that size of audience,” said Perkins.
Lane Grove, Tyler Davey and Troy Kirkpatrick, also competing in the bareback riding, said they were looking forward to the opportunity. Joseph St. Goddard will also compete in the bareback riding.
Trevar McAllister, a senior from Ronan, has plans of riding bareback horses as long as he can and looks forward to riding at the MPRF. “I think it’s going to be great for all of us, a great experience, and we’ll all try to ride our best,” said McAllister.
Competing at a major event is an opportunity these constants otherwise may not have and for those with plans of college rodeoing, the MPRF may be a place for college coaches to see these high school competitors ride and meet the challenge of competing in front of professional judges.
Houston Brown will compete in the saddle bronc riding. “You get to meet all the top guys and see what it’s like at the bigger rodeos,” said the sophomore from Broadus. Sage Newman, Jimmy Heptner and Trevor Clark, also competitors in the saddle bronc riding, look forward to riding in front of a large audience and the new experience as well. Trevor Clark sits atop the saddle bronc standings in the MHSRA and said that he “wants to thank all the people who made the High School Rough Stock Challenge possible at the Montana Pro Rodeo Circuit Finals.”
The rough stock for the event has been chosen to fit the competitors and they will also get to spend one-on-one time with the pro judges. Lane Yeager and Mark Salmond, the MHSRA directors in charge of the event, emphasized the importance of providing young people in rodeo with opportunities that will help them succeed. This event intends to provide this year’s contestants with new opportunities as well as raise interest in those who may want to be bareback or saddle bronc riders in the future.
As the first program of its kind, the Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge provides a new way to provide these opportunities for Montana’s rodeo youth. The Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Board piloted the idea and hopes to get young bareback and saddle bronc riders in front of a broader audience as well as encourage those who may be the future of pro rodeo to become involved. The rough stock challenge helps complete the big circle that keeps pro rodeo alive as the older generation hands down opportunities to young competitors and help secure the future of PRCA rodeo.
The Montana High School Rough Stock Challenge was made possible through a youth educational and outreach grant from the Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Circuit and its Board of Directors to engage youth of Montana in the sport of rodeo.
The high school competitors will each receive trophy vests compliments of Courtney Higgins of Rodeo Rigs, LLC, and Justin gear bags complements of Hoglunds Western Wear of Great Falls. The top riders in saddle bronc and bareback events will each receive a trophy buckle awarded by the Cascade PRCA Rodeo Committee who host the annual Montana PRCA Pro Rodeo Fall Finale the first part of August. The host hotel for the Challenge is the Town House Inns of Great Falls. The Town House Inns will be hosting nightly youth events following the Finals.
Last Updated on Thursday, 15 January 2015 14:10
Lauren Cummings of Billings will compete in the NFL Punt, Pass and Kick National Finals on Saturday, Jan. 10, in Seattle during the weekend of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game.
As one of 40 young athletes across the United States to compete, Cummings will represent the Denver Broncos in the Girls 8-9 division.
Cummings advanced to the national finals through local, sectional and team championship competitions throughout the NFL season. On Saturday, she will launch two punts, two passes and two kicks with the hope to be crowned the 2015 national champion in her division.
Easton Reimers of Missoula, boys 6-7, and Calla Haldorson of Hamilton, girls 14-15, both representing the Seattle Seahawks, also will compete.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 January 2015 12:33
Logan Martin from The First Tee of Montana has been selected from a pool of national candidates to attend The First Tee Outstanding Participant and Leadership Summit, March 11-15 in Dallas. The summit will be an interactive and educational event in which participants will have the opportunity to develop and hone skills to become leaders in their chapters, schools and communities.
Among the dignitaries scheduled to address the teenagers at the summit are New York Times bestselling author James Patterson and World Golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam.
Logan is a junior at Skyview High School has been active at his chapter for seven years. He was selected to attend the inaugural The First Tee Nine Healthy Habits Summit in 2013 and mentors younger participants at the chapter. He plays on the varsity golf team for Skyview High School, East High School Lacrosse-Varsity Lacrosse, Skyview Honor Roll, and the Skyview Choir.
“I feel very honored to be a part of the summit and to represent The First Tee of Montana,” he said. “I am excited for the opportunity to meet new people and learn from others.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 08 January 2015 12:32
MILES CITY – Justin Hanley, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management firefighter employed at the Miles City Field Office, was recently awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism for saving two young girls from drowning in the Yellowstone River in August 2013.
The presentation was held Dec. 13 in conjunction with a “Toys for Tots” event at the local Eagles Lodge. The two sisters presented the medal.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Awards the Carnegie Medal to individuals in the U.S. and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Some recipients are awarded the medal posthumously, having died in their rescue attempt.
Hanley saved Chava L. and Shoshana L. Berry from drowning in the Yellowstone River at Miles City on Aug. 4, 2013. Sisters Chava, 14, and Shoshana, 10, were wading along the bank of the river when the current pulled them in to deeper water and carried them downstream.
Hanley, who lived nearby, responded and ran several hundred feet along the bank to a point just beyond the girls. He entered the water, and the strong channel current pulled on him, but he reached the girls at a point about 250 feet from the bank.
He held Chava, who was inert, with one arm and then grasped Shoshana with that hand. Using his free arm, Hanley stroked back toward the bank, the current continuing to take them downstream. Fatigued and suffering abrasions, Hanley reached the bank with the girls at a point about 700 feet downstream from where he entered the river.
“I am thrilled to see Justin be called a hero and to receive this recognition,” said BLM Eastern Montana/Dakotas District Manager Diane Friez.
The BLM Miles City Field Office is one of three field offices within this district.
“His actions in this situation reflect upon the person he is in everyday life,” said Friez. “The entire district is so proud of him and happy that he works alongside us here at the Bureau of Land Management.”
The Carnegie Medal is a bronze medallion three inches in diameter. Andrew Carnegie’s profile in relief dominates the obverse of the medal. The reverse carries as background, in low relief, the outline of the United States and Canada, the commission’s field of operation, and the seals of the two countries appear in high relief. The reverse of the medal centers on the cartouche, or inscription plate, which carries an embossed statement naming the rescuer, the rescued, and the place and date of the heroic act.
The medal’s cartouche is adorned with laurel, ivy, oak, and thistle, respectively signifying glory, friendship, strength, and persistence – the attributes of a hero. A verse from the New Testament encircles the outer edge: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
For more about the Carnegie Foundation go to: www.carnegiehero.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 13:06
HELENA — Students who enroll in manufacturing and energy industry programs at two-year colleges in Montana will have up to $500,000 worth of scholarships available to them over the next two years through a gift from the Gianforte Family Foundation.
“We don’t have enough high wage jobs in Montana and manufacturing jobs are some of the best in terms of pay-scale,” said Greg Gianforte. “This program is designed to help veterans and lower income Montanans get the training they need to access these jobs, give them a leg up and simultaneously grow the manufacturing sector in Montana.”
The announcement and presentation was made Thursday, Dec. 18, at the Helena College Airport Building. Students, industry representatives and Montana University System leaders were present at the announcement along with Mr. Gianforte. The Gianforte Family Foundation gift of $500,000 to the Student Assistance Foundation, a private nonprofit student financial assistance corporation, will be used by students attending certain programs in several colleges in Montana.
Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian said the scholarship gift by the Gianforte family will provide many opportunities for students to train for good jobs in growing industries. “Montana’s manufacturing sector has made it clear to our colleges that we have a shortage of qualified workers for a lot of high-wage jobs,” said Christian.
Tom Spika, president of Spika Welding and Manufacturing, said student access to industrial training programs is a key to a healthy economy for Montana.
“This gift is great news for Montana manufacturers as well as students who are considering a career in the manufacturing field,” said Spika, who serves as chairman of the Montana Manufacturing Council, a subsidiary of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. “We are experiencing a severe skills gap and workforce shortage for many of us requiring skilled welders, machinists, and other manufacturing positions.”
The scholarship gift will provide up to $125,000 worth of assistance for four consecutive college semesters, beginning Spring Semester 2015, for students enrolled in manufacturing and certain industrial training programs.
The scholarships have a priority on covering up to 50 percent of tuition for veterans and lower income applicants for certificate and two-year degree programs. that lead to jobs in manufacturing such as welding or machining.
John Cech, deputy commissioner of higher education for two-year and community college education, said the gift from the Gianforte family will improve student access to degree and certificate programs that convert into jobs that pay good wages in growing industries.
“Montana’s colleges and universities have built a major partnership with business and industry leaders who are hiring welders, electricians, machinists, process plant technologists, and more,” said Cech. “This generous gift from the Gianforte Family will open the doors of education for more Montana students to improve their lives and serve Montana employers.”
Colleges with programs that are eligible for student use of the scholarships are: Bitterroot College of UM in Hamilton; City College of MSU Billings; Flathead Valley Community College; MSU Northern; Highlands College of Montana Tech in Butte; Little Bighorn College at Crow Agency; Fort Peck Community College in Poplar; Miles Community College; Dawson Community College; Great Falls College of MSU; Helena College of UM; Missoula College of UM; and Gallatin College of MSU in Bozeman.
For more information visit: www.revupmontana.com.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 December 2014 13:03
Kobi Hudson is still a little embarrassed about how he acquired an intense interest in computer science.
“I was just really against the idea of taking a foreign language in high school,” he said. So when he heard that some colleges gave foreign-language credits for computer science classes, “I said, ‘Heck yeah!’”
Given his academic habits, it seems safe to assume he’ll pick up another language or two one of these days. In the meantime, the Rocky Mountain College sophomore’s interest in computer science is keeping him plenty busy.
It was announced last week that he is the 2014-15 winner of the Montana Space Grant Consortium’s Hiscock Memorial Award. Hudson is thinking of using part of the award to travel to Cape Canaveral when a rocket bearing his research project takes off on its way to the International Space Station next June.
That’s his hope, anyway.
“If I get the job I want this summer, I’ll have to talk to them,” he said. “It’ll be their decision.”
The job he’s applying for is with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. This is a 19-year-old accustomed to aiming high.
When he graduated from Billings Senior High School in the spring of 2013, he had already earned 26 credits at Rocky and Montana State University Billings, more than any other student in the history of Senior High. Hudson is especially proud of that accomplishment because of his family’s long history at the school.
He said his great-grandmother graduated from Senior High in 1945. His mother, Jennifer, is a 1992 graduate of Senior High and is now a math teacher there.
Hudson was a sophomore when he took his first computer science class from Vince Long, who retired from Senior High in 2012. As Long remembers it, Hudson took to computer science immediately.
“He’s the kind of guy, if he’s interested enough in something, he’ll just devour it,” Long said.
Hudson soon started going to an after-school science club, too, where he and a fellow student named Tucker Downs became obsessed with building a robotic device that could graph parametric functions on an Etch-A-Sketch. They took that project to the Science Bowl at Montana State University two years in a row.
Both of them also began taking computer science classes at Rocky through a partnership the college has with Billings high schools.
“We aggressively recruit high school students to take our classes while they’re still in high school,” said Andy Wildenberg, an associate professor of computer science at Rocky. “It’s a huge payback for our department. We get these really amazingly talented students, and then we keep a lot of them.”
Through another program that allows high school students to take courses at MSU Billings for just $50 a credit, Hudson began studying at that college, too. In his last two years of high school, in addition to his computer science classes at Rocky, Hudson took calculus 1 and 2, mathematics, chemistry and chemistry lab at MSU Billings. During the busiest stretch, the first semester of his senior year, he was taking 12 college credits in addition to keeping up with his high school classes.
“It was absolutely the best choice I ever made,” he said, though he claims he “wasn’t anything special” in his college classes: “I didn’t do exceedingly well. I was completely average.”
More than anything, what he learned during those few intensive semesters was how to get all his work done.
“Time management, time management,” he said. “Teachers are always saying that. I guess they weren’t just making that up.”
By the time he graduated from Senior, Hudson had enough credits to be classified as a sophomore at Rocky. But because he has a triple major — computer science, mathematics and physics — he figures he’ll do a full four years at Rocky.
He won the Hiscock Memorial Award, given annually to an undergraduate or graduate student in Montana, for his work on a modularized aluminum box, officially known as a NanoRacks NanoLabs enclosure, that will be used to test the growth of algae in zero gravity aboard the International Space Station.
The goal of the experiment is to see whether algae can be grown in that environment. Because algae converts carbon dioxide to oxygen as it grows, it might make long-term manned space flights more feasible. As Hudson explained it, two of the most expensive components of a space flight are fuel and the oxygen.
The plan is to grow the algae in agar, the substance used in Petri dishes, rather than water. For this experiment, the algae has to be contained in a small enclosure that could be monitored from Earth. Wildenberg helped Hudson and other students design a computer program that would monitor the algae growth as the space station orbits at an altitude of 220 miles.
The aluminum container is just 4-by-4-by-6 inches and weighs a kilogram. In that little box will be three small plastic jars containing the algae, a temperature sensor, a memory card to record data, a Texas Instruments circuit board, grow lights, a camera light and a camera.
The Hiscock award comes with a $1,500 check, which can be used for tuition, travel, research supplies or other educational purpose. Even more important was a $30,000 grant from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which will cover the cost of getting the algae container into space.
Even with an educational discount, Hudson said, the cost of transporting anything to the space station is $10,000 a pound. The project that Wildenberg and his students have been working on for several years began as part of the HUNCH initiative, for High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware.
One of the best parts about studying at Rocky, Wildenberg said, is that students are given the chance to work on research projects that would be reserved for graduate students at a larger school. The small computer science department also makes it possible for enthusiastic students like Hudson and Downs to influence everyone else in the department.
“They’re always so fun,” he said. “It’s not that Kobi can’t be serious. He can be very serious. But he likes to have a lot of fun.”
Long said something similar about having Downs and Hudson in high school. With students like those two, he said, “mainly what I would do was try to create opportunity in the class for them to grow in the direction they were interested in. … You just kind of get out of their way and let them go have fun.”
On Facebook, Wildenberg said, Hudson alternates between cerebral explanations of complex science projects and action-packed posts about riding BMX bicycles with his father, Jason, who worked in and managed bike shops in Missoula and Billings for 28 years.
“It’s weird to say that your 47-year-old dad can do a backflip on a bike and you can’t,” Hudson said.
With his dad, who used to race professionally, Hudson is also converting a 1984 Honda Civic CRX into an autocross race car.
After college, Hudson said, he might do graduate work at MSU in Bozeman. Wherever he goes he wants to stay involved in space-related work, as either a researcher or a teacher. There is so much to learn, he said, so many things to explore.
“It’s super fascinating to me,” he said. “I’d like to know all these answers.”
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 December 2014 12:03
MISSOULA – With almost half of Montana’s children growing up in low-income households, a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation calls for a coordinated approach to lifting kids out of poverty by delivering high-quality childhood education while simultaneously providing parents with access to job training and career paths that enable them to financially support their families.
The KIDS COUNT policy report, “Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach,” outlines how the public, nonprofit and private sectors must work together to reduce poverty among the 10 million low-income families with young children in the United States.
According to Thale Dillon, director of Montana KIDS COUNT at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, the report identifies three major challenges facing today’s low-income families: inflexible and unpredictable jobs that do not offer high enough wages to support a family; lack of access to high-quality, reliable early child care and education; and increased stress levels for parents and children. The solution: connect families with the tools and skills that will help them overcome each of these obstacles and, ultimately, build better futures for themselves and their children.
In the U.S. nearly one-third of children age 5 or younger in low-income families have parents with concerns about their development, and the sooner an intervention is put in place, the more effective it is, Dillon said.
The Casey report outlines recommendations to build opportunities for two-generations. Among them:
Create policies that equip parents and children with the income, tools and skills they need to succeed as a family and as individuals. State and federal governments should strengthen policies that expand job-training, educational and career opportunities; adopt policies that give parents more flexibility at work, such as paid time off; increase the Child Tax Credit for low-income parents of very young children; and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase the income of noncustodial parents.
* Put common sense into common practice by structuring public systems to respond to the realities facing today’s families. State and federal governments should use interagency commissions and innovation funds to promote collaboration and align policies and programs.
* Use existing child, adult and neighborhood programs and platforms to build evidence for practical pathways out of poverty for families. Early childhood, K-12, home visits, job training and supportive housing programs could partner with one another to connect parents with financial coaching, job-readiness assistance, education and other tools to achieve financial stability, while ensuring their children have access to high-quality care and schooling.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 13:45